BAYONET POINT — A 52-year-old man attempting to steal two packs of rechargeable batteries and bottles of soda from a Kmart shot and killed himself Saturday after being detained by security guards, according to authorities.
The incident happened just after 3 p.m. at a Kmart at 12412 U.S. 19, about a half-mile north of State Road 52.
The man, who is from Port Richey, was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in critical condition. He died a short time later. His name has not yet been released.
Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said the man was brought to a loss-prevention office in the back of the store after being caught attempting to shoplift the goods, which were valued at $39.
While being questioned by two loss-prevention officers, the man brandished a .22-caliber handgun and fired it at the doorway. This is where the two Kmart employees had been standing — though Tobin would not say the man fired at the workers.
"He shot in the direction of where they were standing," Tobin said.
The two workers ran out of the room. Then the man shot himself in the head.
The store was evacuated briefly after the incident, Tobin said. When a deputy arrived on scene minutes after the shooting, the business was open, and there were customers shopping inside, Tobin said.
Tobin referred to Kmart questions about whether the store had any policy to check for weapons carried by those detained for shoplifting. The Kmart store manager declined to comment Saturday.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6229.